Training as an investment as a foodservice operator

If you look after your staff, they will look after you.

What makes or breaks any business operating within the foodservice industry is the level of customers service of its team and the products they serve. That’s why recruiting the right staff, developing their skills and retaining them is absolutely essential to the success of your outlet. Here, we delve into why training should be considered as an investment, rather than just another cost.

Made up of thousands of outlet types from travel and leisure hubs through to hotels, universities, pubs, bars, restaurants, QSR and beyond, the foodservice sector is all about the service. You could be operating in a hospital or a school or a fine dining restaurant, but wherever you are operating, you must guarantee a great experience for your customers, every time – beginning with a great team.

In simple terms, if you look after your staff, they will look after you. Happy, well-trained, skilful and knowledgeable staff work faster, provide a great service and upsell far more frequently. This could lead to a higher retention of staff with more return customers and therefore a much better reputation for your brand. Here are some steps to consider when investing in training for your team.

 

The power of the review

For those operating in hotels, pubs or restaurants in particular, take some time to browse through your reviews. Whether they are professionally written or left online by your customers, the vast majority are likely to relate to your team and their performance. Reviews generally consider the following:

  • Was the service fast and friendly?
  • Were the staff knowledgeable about your products and menu?
  • Did staff display exceptional skills and create amazing food and drink?

If your customers rate your service, product and value, then chances are you will be reading some glowing reviews about your outlet, as well as enjoying repeat customers and a healthy rise in profits.

On the other hand, if guests haven’t had the best experience and are complaining about wait times, poorly served/made drinks, under-cooked food or unfriendly staff, your reviews could impact your reputation as well as your bottom line.

Unfortunately, customers are more likely to leave a review when they’ve had a bad experience, so don’t let that happen and encourage them to leave reviews after their visit. You could even offer those that leave a review the chance to win a voucher to return.

Invest in your team

Things like design and ambience go a long way to complement your business, but it’s not the making of it. Ultimately, it’s the quality of your team and the product that they deliver that’s going to get you the results you need. Whatever the offering, every foodservice business should be thinking along those lines. Your team needs to be inspired and have the passion to succeed. Here’s a few suggestions on how you can make this happen.

Observe – It may sound an obvious one, but observe your staff. This will ensure they are practicing what they have been taught. Perhaps one way of doing this is placing employees under one supervisor. This could ensure better management and guidance too.

Performance – Having regular reviews will help to track your staff’s progress, and ensure they are always motivated with something to work towards.

Upskilling – This is another effective way of making your staff feel like they are progressing. As a result, they will remain motivated and will in return, perform to a higher level. When upskilling, make sure you are incentivising your team, bonus schemes are a good way of doing this.

Team building – These exercises not only help to motivate your staff but also help them to build better relationships, therefore improving productivity.

Technology – With technology constantly evolving, make sure your team are developing with it. Train your staff to use the latest technology that you are investing in, which in return will make your business run more efficiently.

Trends – Consumer trends are forever changing and adapting, and external training is one way to stay on top of this. Although it may seem like an added expense, it is a good investment in the long run which will equip staff with new skills and knowledge.

The future is online

Online solutions give staff the flexibility to be able to study wherever and whenever suits them best. This can result in higher completion rates, faster onboarding and a better trained and more knowledgeable team. You can also easily see who had done what training and individual pass rates.

The online approach costs a fraction of developing and hosting 100% of your training on your premises. But remember, keep upgrading and refreshing your training plan.

Apprenticeships

With the hospitality industry one of the hardest hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that we all do our bit to help rebuild it. Apprenticeships are one way of achieving this, and much more. They can really boost the potential for businesses to retain excellent staff. To have a scheme in place, you must be committed to investing your time and money into each and every apprentice who walks through your door.

Stick with it

There is no doubt about it, training can be tough so you can see why some outlets avoid formal training programmes. However, shying away from it certainly isn’t the answer and won’t get you great results. Writing scripts, doing research, not to mention testing, does take a lot of time and work in terms of preparation and execution, but persevere with it. You will reap the benefits in the long run. And always remember, delivering excellence is the key to a successful business.